Vote this weekend could change the political landscape in Manlius
Voters in Manlius will take to the polls this weekend to decide whether the town should switch to a ward system.
At Canal Landing Park in Fayetteville Wednesday night, Manlius Town Supervisor John Deer urged a crowd of several dozen people to vote no on the proposed ward system.
"We're not going to let a very small, politically-minded group force this decision on the Town of Manlius. We're going to take the time, include everybody in the discussion, and make sure we're doing the right thing by our residents,” said Deer.
Right now, Manlius Town Board members are “at large,” meaning they represent the entire town and can live anywhere within the town borders.
If approved, the new measure would divide the town into six districts, each represented by a board member who lives in that district.
Down the street from the rally, at the Fayetteville Village Hall, Timothy Kelly, the chairman of the Manlius Republican Party, held an informational session about why he thinks the community should vote yes in the special election.
"To me it's about the town having a voice, having fair representation and going out and talking to people, there's many people who feel that they don't have that voice,” he said.
Kelly said it’s been more than a dozen years since a town board member came from the part of town that includes places like Minoa, Fremont, and Kirkville.
The Town Board is also completely made up of Democrats, and Town Councilor Katelyn Kriesel said she thinks the special election is politically motivated. She said if people want more representatives from other parts of the town, they can vote for them.
"There are Republicans and Democrats running for Town Board this year in the November election, including people from Minoa, Freemont, and all up and down the town," said Kriesel.
But advocates for the ward system like Kelly said this isn’t about party politics, and he’s been out speaking to voters from both major parties.
"We actually had quite a bit of favor. We only had a little bit of opposition and a lot of times when there was some opposition, what it was is that they just didn't understand it,” he said.
The vote will be Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Manlius Town Hall.